WTI, Brent crude drop more than $4 per barrel
Crude oil prices were down substantially Thursday as equities markets also plunged around the world.
September contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude were down $4.16 to $87.77 per barrel in afternoon trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while at last report Brent crude had dropped $4.31 to $108.92 per barrel.
The declines came as some investors had to sell commodities to cover losses in equities markets, while there was also worry about demand after yesterday’s report from the US Energy Information Administration that gasoline demand in the United States was down by 3.6 percent over the same period last year.
The news on employment in the US was mixed as the Labor Department said that first-time jobless claims were down by 1,000 last week to 400,000, but the number of initial claims filed the previous week were revised upward to 401,000.
A decline in last week’s initial jobless claims was good news, but there were concerns that the report on last month’s employment numbers, due from the Labor Department tomorrow, will show that not enough jobs were created to cut the US unemployment rate.
Additionally, the Labor Department said that continuing unemployment claims were up by 10,000 in the week ending 23 July, the latest period for which figures are available, to 3.73 million.
Nymex September natural gas futures were 14 cents lower to $3.95 per million British thermal units in afternoon trade after the EIA said that inventories were up by 44 billion cubic feet last week, to 2.758 trillion cubic feet, against an expected gain of between 32 billion cubic feet and 41 billion cubic feet, nevertheless leaving stockpiles 2.4 percent below the five-year average and 6.3 percent lower than last year at the same time.
September gasoline futures dropped 16 cents to $2.77 per gallon in afternoon trade in New York, while September heating oil futures were down 9 cents to $2.93 per gallon.
The retail price of gasoline was up slightly overnight in the US, to $3.703 per gallon on average nationally for regular unleaded.
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